Cereal Series - Pitch Training with Antoinette Beijen

Great entrepreneurial ideas often remain only as ideas if they aren’t presented powerfully to potential investors and stakeholders.

To help founders get their ideas noticed, Antoinette Beijen, a successful Presentation & Story Telling Coach, gave a great presentation in February at TechQuartier on how to use storytelling to create exciting, meaningful and ultimately successful business idea presentations/pitches.

“Presentations are intended to change minds and or behavior, but people are often reluctant to change.  You must find links to your audience to get them to change…and stories are a very effective tool to make those links.” – Ms. Beijen said during the opening of her “Pitch Training” presentation as part of a members-only Cereal Series .

She began her first career as a family psychologist in the Netherlands and “… listened and learned how stories are incredibly powerful.”  For her, storytelling is powerful in business, as well as, in personal communications.

Ms. Beijen explained that capturing the audience’s attention is actually step two in the process. The first step is knowing your audience.

“Take time to understand your audience. Designing a presentation without knowing your audience is like writing a love letter and addressing it to ‘To Whom It May Concern.’”

One of the points she made was that it’s critical to know your audience before you design any part of the presentation, including the opening.  Quotes and humor are useful tools as openers, but not appropriate for all audiences. Sometimes using current events and a prop or visual aid can be an alternative.

A successful presentation/pitch is a journey where the storyteller-presenter tells a story that makes the audience the hero, Ms. Beijen said. Guiding them from a “Call to Adventure” through the “Call to Action.”  A “Call to Adventure” begins with the presenter relating a story about “the world as it is” and as a world that could clearly benefit from change.

“This common understanding creates a bond and will motivate more listening from the audience,” she said.

The next step is for the storyteller to effectively articulate “…a vision of the world.  What it could be.” This world is clearly a better world. She said this can be called the “Big Idea.”  She suggested the storyteller/presenter use one sentence with the audience being the subject of that sentence and the use of an action verb.

“The emotion and tension created between ‘the way it is’ and ‘the way it could be’ are the motivators to the next step, a ‘Call to Action.’”

Whether it be for business or for personal, storytelling creates empathy in the audience and that is powerful motivation for change.

Ending a good presentation starts with a “Call to Action,” the strategy component. A good presenter offers “3 baby steps” which are simple and concrete actions.

“These baby steps are a roadmap to the promise land. They should help the audience get from one place to another.”

For the final point, presenters should enlist the storyteller method of “New Bliss/Reward.” The presenter reminds the audience of the gap between “the way it is” and “the way it could be” and asks “What are you going to do?”

To learn more about other events at TQ, follow the link: https://techquartier.com/tq-events/

Emmett Kelly

Emmett Kelly is a journalist from the United States with professional experience in North America, Asia and most recently Germany where he has lived for nearly 10 years.